Everyone gets depressed at one time or another. It is quite normal. We have all felt deep sadness, a loss of interest or reduction of feelings at times, or maybe a change in our appetites and sleep patterns. Usually, these are situational mood changes, based on stressful, but usually temporary life circumstances.
There is, however, a kind of depression that sucks the very life out of you and has a negative effect on the lives of those around you. It is an abiding misery and it may last for weeks, months, or even years. If you find that to be true of you or someone that you know, then this is no typical depression. It is time to get help. But no matter what depression you face, there are some things you can do to help yourself or a friend to find peace of mind and strength of will to get a handle on such an emotionally debilitating condition.
Depression has been around since humankind, but it is never easy and it often resists treatment. Here are 5 ways to help a friend or someone close to you to combat this dreaded disease:
1. Help your friend get help
There are several different symptoms of depression that you need to look for if you suspect your friend may be suffering from it.
- Loss of interest or feeling
- Change of sleep habits
- Concentration challenges
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide
There are just some of the more recognizable symptoms of depression. If your friend has at least half of these symptoms, the chances are high that he suffers from depression. You can also have them take this assessment from Mind Diagnostics to see if they may be depressed. If he will not get help or is not aware of the severity of his situation, you need to encourage him to seek help. Some forms of depression may come about because of the abuse of drugs or alcohol, mixed with life situations. However, drug rehab treatment as one of the viable options can be wise from various centers such as laguna treatment center & likewise.
2. Recognize depression as a kind of illness
You would not believe how many people still do not know that simple fact. Depression is not simply a matter of feeling sad. You can’t make it go away just by thinking happy thoughts or snapping out of it. Telling someone to “just cheer up” does about as much good as telling someone drowning to “just start swimming”. Many people with good intentions may say or do harmful things because they don’t recognize the severity of depression. Depression is a serious illness, a medical condition, and can occur because of hormonal or chemical imbalances within the brain. If you are not aware of this, then you will not be very effective at helping your friend receive the help she needs. But knowing how deep and overwhelming the situation is, can help you to give her the support she needs to eventually take back control of her life.
3. Schedule active time with your friend
Exercise gets the blood flowing and the endorphins moving. The chemicals for feeling good can be secreted or released through exercise, which is why it is often a good idea to keep your depressed friend busy. A quick jog through the park or a brisk swim in the pool may be just what the doctor ordered to help stimulate a better mood.
4. Help your friend to serve
There is always something bigger than we are. One of the most fascinating things about depression is how it ebbs when a person begins performing an act of service for someone else. Arrange for you and your depressed friend to serve in a homeless shelter, cut grass for an elderly person, or make pillows for sick children. A person can find special meaning in making others feel special.
5. Help your friend plan SMART goals
What are SMART goals? These are goals that are strategic. They are effective in helping a person to achieve in a very efficient way. Smart is an acronym originally coined by George T. Doran. The letters represent 5 words which are:
6. Surround your friend with love and support
Make sure your friend is not isolating herself from the world. Though that may be what feels best, it is rarely helpful to be by yourself when you are depressed. It is often harmful. You may obsess on unhealthy thoughts. A depressed person needs lots of face-to-face interaction. Laughing, happy people make it hard for “the blues” to stay around.
These are just some of the many ways you can help your friend fight depression and live a normal and even happy life.